Kristina Furey

Can you hear your heart beat?

When I was 4 or 5 years old my parents started taking in foster care children.  This continued until I was 10. When I was 11 my mother left our family. Yes, I have said this before because these experiences make up the foundation, I was given to build upon. Life is like a game of Jenga when you think about it. Only, it is the few and very fortunate that begin at the beginning. For most of us the game is already tipping a bit and we, if we are fortunate enough, we are given the information, experiences and abilities to wake up each day and continue playing. Often depending upon all the little moves that got us whatever security we might have and definitely it is dependent on our opponents moves against us. I suppose I keep bringing up my childhood because I saw, experienced and knew too much as a child to want to oppose life, mine or anyone else's. There were moments when my hands were forced or so I thought... Heart breaking moments or at the very least, moments that set me up for future heartbreak. But all that is just a prelude to this:

I sang my first solo on stage when I was four or five.  I was in the Head start program at my elementary school.  Our class was performing in a school talent show for the parents.  There wasn't going to be a solo in the song. I created extra lyrics for the song and the teacher said, “You sing that!” and that's how that happened.  I loved to sing and I loved to write rhymes in cards for people I loved. I also loved to be outdoors in nature. I loved being with my friends and my foster siblings.  I loved getting on my bicycle and riding around to neighbor's homes and stopping in to visit. I loved animals. I loved our local vet who owned a farm just outside of our neighborhood.  I loved that when my brother and I would come across a wounded animal, my brother would sit with me on the corner of our yard helping tend to that creature as we awaited our hero, the vet. I loved that our hero never dismissed us, crushed our hopes or gave us false hope. He would return the animals to us to be released back to where we found them or he would let us know that he carefully and gently put them down in an end to their suffering. I always looked at people the same as I looked at these animals. That may be why when I was in 5th grade I was elected class president for our school. That may be why when they got a video camera in the library and wanted to start a school news TV show, I was the first person the librarian approached on this.


Just after turning 11, one of those (Jenga) pieces my life was balancing on was removed. All those things that I loved, were left to teeter and I became an open target for opponents. I can't say precisely when it was but I found myself, outside of my life looking in, much like you do when you're dreaming, watching yourself and maybe even controlling that self to a certain degree but all the time you're disconnected, an observer, more than a participant.  This was my response to things forced upon me and my lack of control. I was zoning out mentally and then physically as I chose to skip school and stop trying to function in what I found to be a dysfunctional lifestyle for me. I spent as much of my time as I could, resting, recovering and searching out solutions. Still, many of these things continued to be forced upon me. I did have friends (many) and when I went to school I looked around and saw I was not alone.  There were others like me. Many of them angry and likely to bite,reminiscent of the wounded animals. During this time, I thought of my hero, the vet. I was infatuated with his son. More of a nepotistic thing and I realized this at some point. At that point, I had begun to understand that I was desiring to help heal the emotional wounds, created by dysfunction and I was inspired by this vet, who had come to the rescue of the wounded animals and in the process validated my brother's and my own efforts. It made my heart happy to find a friend in him and empowered me to trust that we are safe and being watched over and cared for. It was a Jenga piece that held it's place firmly, even as my tower began to teeter. I wanted to help others secure this piece. I saw how insecurities wounded and suspected, If we were each secure we could accomplish anything. I had aspirations of being the first woman president but that ended when I saw Olivia Newton John in Xanadu. I know you expected me to say Greece, which I really did enjoy but it was Xanadu that made me connect the idea of singing to help inspire greatness… which put directly is to say, to remind us of who we are and help us recover what has been lost and build on a stronger foundation, where each person is nurtured, educated and supported, so that we together, can create a more perfect union and a stronger foundation for all future generations.

To inspire greatness in others has been my life's ambition. Most of my life has been in service to this, the other parts have been invested in working on myself so that when those moments show up, I'm ready to go. It remains a work in progress. Whether I'm singing, writing, or just going about my daily life, it is the thing that drives me.

What is your life's ambition?

If you don't know what it is, I suggest you check in with your heart. That's why I wrote this.


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